Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group has been given a £3,000 boost this week by the Town Council.
The group of volunteers has operated a helpline throughout the pandemic to help vulnerable local people in need.
The extra funding, which was unanimously approved by town councillors during their meeting on Monday December 7th, will enable the support group to continue to respond to local needs, and also coordinate increased volunteer support for the NHS during the upcoming vaccination programme.
The group’s Ian Jefferies told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We have continued to support many local people each week. Alongside the normal day to day work of providing prescription and shopping delivery we have noticed that we are offering support to people that appear to be falling through the gaps of current service provision.”
“We want to build on all the fantastic work that has been done by the volunteers. This funding will guarantee that we can provide ongoing support through the winter and offer services to assist during the upcoming Covid vaccinations.”
“Not only do we plan to continue with the shopping and daily requests but working with other partners to help identify where there may be shortfalls in service provision giving them up to date data.”
“Our hope is that the community group will continue long after Covid, offering a known, trusted phone number available all year round where our community can come for support and signposting, whether during a pandemic, flood or just a friendly voice on the end of a phone.”
“There has some terrific community spirit shown throughout the pandemic and it is our aim with the support from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council to ensure there is a continued legacy.”
Anyone shielding and needing assistance from the team should call the helpline on 01278 393231.
Town councillors asked several questions during the meeting about whether the group has enough volunteers, to which Ian said they do at the moment but that a further appeal for helpers may be needed. It was also noted that the group does not qualify for Sedgemoor District Council funding.
Cllr Peter Clayton, who proposed that the council should give the funding, added: “I think this is something we should look at very seriously. This group has done a tremendous job so far, thank you to them – they have kept it going for some time now and I think it is important for this council to recognise that and to put some additional money into it. I think it will create a really positive legacy – it’s important for the Town Council to be a part of it. £3,000 is a small amount.”
Cllr Bill Hancock added that the group is doing a “fantastic job in this ongoing emergency.”
Cllr Phil Harvey seconded the proposal and councillors supported the funding unanimously.